Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Morocco: Institutionalizing child poverty measurement for long-term impact on children’s lives

Morocco's statistics office, Haut Commissariat au Plan (HCP), UNICEF and the National Observatory for Children’s Rights (ONDE) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in the collection, analysis and dissemination of data related to children.

This initiative is a key follow up to the Child Poverty and Disparities Study conducted in Morocco in 2007, and it will draw on it, including by using a multidimensional approach to poverty measurement. 

UNICEF Morocco partnered with ONDE to launch the first ever study in Morocco on child poverty using the deprivations framework. Among some of the constraints identified at the outset was the nature and source of data used to provide this kind of analysis an empirical base. The only comprehensive datasets were those of household consumption and expenditure surveys, as well as household living standards surveys.
Thanks to a partial MICS merged with a youth survey of 2006 conducted by the Ministry of Health and supported by UNICEF/UNFPA/WHO and PAPFAM, we were able to implement the study. Conducting the study using the deprivation approach was a first step to start the public debate on alternative approaches to monetary poverty measurement in general and child poverty in particular.

The preliminary findings were disseminated in May 2009 within the first Social Policy and Child Rights forum. Thanks to the commitment of all partners the forum, opened by the Prime Minister and attended by high profile officials, civil society and international organizations, marked a shift in the national debate on child poverty for the first time in Morocco. 

The technical debate started at the forum continued during bilateral meetings with the HCP technical staff. Issues were discussed during two high-level meetings between the HCP and UNICEF representative, attended also by technical staff to assess what could be done using official data and how this could impact policy development in favor of Moroccan children. The subsequent discussion resulted in an agreement to develop a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize the collaboration and specify the commitments and contribution of each party to the MoU.

The MoU, signed in April, will cover the following areas of collaboration:

- Undertaking a study on child poverty and disparities using a multidimensional approach (a follow up to the Child Poverty and Disparities Study conducted in Morocco);
- Conducting a survey to assess the impact of migration and remittances on children;
- Putting in place an information system to better monitor the situation of children;

- Updating data on child labour within the national labour survey. 

On the occasion of the MoU signing, the High Commissioner for Planning, Mr. Ahmed Lahlimi Alami said the agreement will converge the efforts of HCP, UNICEF and ONDE to contribute to improving the situation of children in Morocco, inform decision-making, and evaluate progress on child rights.
UNICEF representative in Morocco, Aloys Kamuragiye, affirmed that this agreement will allow for the production of strategic information on children in Morocco, adding that the goal is to advocate with decision-makers to help improve the condition of children. He noted that UNICEF wishes to strengthen its partnership with the HCP to help position Morocco as a leading country in Africa in matters of children’s well-being promotion.

See a message on the Child Poverty Network with more details

See the press release of the MoU signature ceremony here.

Focal Point: Hicham Ait Mansour